Survey of Americans Who Attempted Suicide Finds Many Aren't Getting Care
A new study in JAMA Psychiatry reveals that suicide attempts nationwide showed a "substantial and alarming increase" from 2008 to 2019. During this period, the incidence of "self-reported attempts to kill one's self in the last 12 months" increased to 564 in every 100,000 adults, up from 481. The researchers focused on data from 484,732 responses to the federal government's yearly National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which includes people who lack insurance and have little contact with the health care system. They found the largest increase in suicide attempts among women, young adults aged 18-25 years, unmarried people, people with less education, and people who regularly use substances such as cannabis or alcohol. Only adults aged 50-64 years experienced a noticeable decline in suicide attempts during the study period. Researchers also found there was no meaningful change in the use of mental health services by people who had attempted suicide, despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduced stigma related to mental health care. During the 11-year study period, roughly 40% of people who tried suicide in the previous year said they were not receiving mental health care, according to Greg Rhee, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and one of the study authors. The ACA required all health plans to cover mental health and substance abuse services, but many respondents said the cost of mental health care was unaffordable, they were unsure of where to obtain treatment, or lacked transportation.
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